tv MSNBC Live MSNBC June 16, 2011 11:00am-12:00pm EDT
about congressman weiner i won't be answering any. i've made the statements i'm going to make. that was moments ago. the breaking news of anthony weiner's resignation and house minority leader nancy pelosi confirms what we have been reporting this morning, that the congressman will resign after three weeks almost of his tweeting scandal and texting taking the nation by storm as well as washington, d.c. he is expected to make this announcement coming up in new york this afternoon. hi, everybody. a very busy thursday morning here at msnbc. we want to get you up to speed, again, with this breaking news we just learned over the last hour. something we have been following for you now for almost three weeks. the embattled congressman anthony weiner is confirms to the press he will step down. he called nancy pelosi and steve israel to let them nope his decision. it comes after mounting pressure from the democratic colleagues on the hill in the wake of this sexting scandal. straight to nbc's luke russert who joins us on capitol hill
where reaction is pouring in. luke, any word on exactly this decision was made? we know that huma abedin came back from her trip with secretary of state hillary clinton. many said he wanted to speak to his wife first. now we have thnotification of h announcement. >> reporter: kind are engaging the possibility if he were to come backs, could it be possible? really, after the president of the united states and after nancy pelosi on saturday came forward and said, for all intents and purposes he should resign, step down, they mentioned for him, any way forward would be quite difficult. seems anthony weiner waited for huma abedin to return from her week-long trip with secretary of state hillary clinton. he said all along, he wouldn't say anything until he had a face-to-face consultation with her. that's happened. he decided the best way to go
forward, no longer to be a member ever the house of representatives. striking how this went down. at the congressional picnic thrown by the white house, nancy pelosi received a call, i'm told she left from who she was speaking to and took the call and essentially heard and apologetic anthony weiner saying that he'd been sorry for being a distraction, i'm told, and that he, in fact, would resign. this morning when we went to stake out his office, thomas, around 9:30 a.m., staffers with their belongings left. the door was locked. the lights went out. all phone calls went to voicemail, and then in washington, d.c., when you're at congress, the doors open at 9:00 a.m. that was a sign everyone had left at 9:30 a.m. john boehner also spoke about this. let's take a listen. >> just been a distraction. the american people are asking, where are the jobs and want us to focus on job creation. this was just a distraction that was unnecessary.
>> reporter: and there you hear what is the republican message on this, thomas. there had been calms from republicans from the beginning anthony weiner should step down, the honorable thing to do, and even them saying a distraction. albeit one more favorable for them. that's the word up here on capitol hill. distraction, distraction, distraction. no opportunity for democrats to perpetuate their message of job growth agenda. >> right. >> reporter: not able to talk about medicare reform. all drowned out by the media firestorm that engulfed anthony weiner. >> explain what's going to happen with the house ethics commission? will they continue to go forward with any type of investigation? >> reporter: no. they don't have any jurisdiction now. with anthony weiner resigning they lose all ability in that respect. another reason it's smart of him, his colleagues for him to step down, because if there were
to have been an investigation by the house ethics committee, it would have taken months and gone very much into the election year in 2012. the story had legs. the question to anthony weiner posed to him by a colleague, can you be an effective member of congress? and when he ultimately realized that was no longer plausible, he reached this decision. it's one that, there's a huge sigh of relief coming from democrats. as nancy pelosi said. look, we lost the last three weeks to this story. hopefully we can come back monday and it can now be about policy and not about scandal. >> luke russert on capitol hill. luke, thanks. >> reporter: thank you. for more on this breaking news, good morning to cnbc chief washington correspondent jon harwood and nbc news political director mark murray. gentlemen, good morning. mark, i want to start with you. watching the story unfold now for three week. in your opinion, was there a turning point where there really was no other choice for congress man weiner but to make this
announcement? >> tom, there wasn't a specific turning point. just the constant drip, drip, drip of information. new women coming forward. information that weiner had been texting and having messages with a 17-year-old girl from delaware. just the constant drip, drip became a big problem and a lake for the democratic party. and pointing out, when republican had their own member of congress taking shirtless photos of himself, christopher lee, he resigned with just two hours. it pretty much ended that story. anthony weiner, this entire drama has played out over two or three weeks and been just a major distraction and headache for the democratic party. >> democrats seemed to hold on. you remember, last year with charlie rangel. it almost this time in july of this year, when the president said charlie served a long time and maybe he should leave with dignity. he held on and is still there. here we have this situation once again with a democratic
congressman, and this time much more severe in terms of circumstance or consequence. the president saying, if i were in his shoes i would resign. in your opinion is that where the hammer really came down and he didn't have a turning point to come back from? >> that certainly didn't helpif you had to look at one moment where it became obvious it was untenable to hang on, when he had the news conference and said everything that i've you over the last several days has ban lie. that i -- he said his account was hacked. that he didn't do this. that he wasn't sure whether the photographs were of himself. at that point his credibility was completely shot and really no recovery from it. it's hard to predict sometimes which scandals are survivable and which ones are not. president clinton couldn't survive monica lewinsky. he did. that was a different time and a different set of facts. once anthony weiner came out and acknowledged not only had his
conduct been bad, but his credibility was not worth anything, that's when you cannot be an effective member of congress, and he ultimately had to get to this point, which he finally done today. >> mark, hindsight being 20/20 in all things, is it more about the cover-up than the error of judgment? >> a great point, thomas. always, john mentioned there, what was really damaging to anthony weiner was holding a press conference in which he pretty much ended up saying many lies to numerous news outlets and just a couple of days late her to fess up. that really ends up damaging the credibility of a member of congress, to be able to work time and time again with your own members, people with your own party. even with the republican party. credibility and trustworthiness are very important, and he none left after that. >> we want to go ahead and report, nbc news now confirming that congressman weiner is going to be giving a resignation speech coming up this afternoon. no sheepshead bay, brooklyn.
2:00 p.m. this afternoon. the spot many may remember when he announced his first campaign for city council in 1992. full circle making this announcement from the place he first made political statements's in your estimation, you don't think he'll take questions? mainly just a statement and move on? >> that's what i would think. boy, he took enough questions at that first news conference that it was painful to watch, and, of course, painful for him and everybody around him. i think we can't fail to note that this is incredibly, a sad moment for anthony weiner, for his wife. for his staffers. for all those people close him. it's a tragedy when somebody has a promising career and they blow it all up with their own misconduct, and you know, anthony weiner clearly has talents. i suspect he'll find a new outlet for those, but it's a very rough day, and i would not expect him to want to linger too long with the press. >> we have that coming up at 2:00. i'm not sure if it's really
going to put a final cap on this story, as it were. mark, what happens with his seat? what does governor cuomo in new york have to do? >> call for a special election. the time is up to him, of course. could be quickly. could go out for a while. new york state, of course that gotten very used to having special elections in congress. i mentioned christopher lee. there was that seat that he left. that democrats ended up winning in a surprise election. but one thing to consider here is that this district could seriously be altered or completely eliminated during redistricting that new york state is going through right now. so whoever ends up winning that seat, it could be temporary or could about completely new district when the general election comes around in 2012. >> yeah. new york roughly losing two seats right now. i want to introduce as we talk about new york, nbc's ron allen, here in the studio with me. ron, you've been following the story closely, but the one thing a lot of people around the country are very familiar with is the new york press, and how
tough it's been on congressman weiner as this scandal unravelled. >> reporter: it has. to eck e something john harwood said in a fundamental way this is really a family tragedy. on the front page of the paper. this is a picture of congressman weiner's wife, huma abedin, who many in the media business know because she's been a longtime top aide to secretary of defense hillary clinton, previously senator clinton here in new york. and so many of us know her. i know her from the campaign trail, a couple years ago. and you have to feel for her. she's pregnant with their first child, and what is the conversation like between them? of course, it's a private matter, but you can't help but feel for her and him at some level. in his district, he had a lot of support. i believe that's why he felt he could hang on. in was a poll last week that suggested 56% of the people asked supported him and said he should not resign. a smaller number said she should quit. asked would they vote for nim
2012, an even 30/30/30 divide. that, again, was week ago. so now, unclear where that opinion would have been, but it is a very solid democratic district. he has been a fixture that a long, long time, since 1998, he was elected to congress in 1991. dreamed of being new york's next mayor and many thought he a good shot at that. now all that is pretty much gone, i this. >> as ron points out, the fact that the polling, the people with his constituency were behind him. it hadn't really tipped the boat, so to speak against him, but really what was going to take place in the halls of capitol hill, where it really swayed against him. he would have been around babas ineffective. no one wanting to co-sponsor legislation with limb? >> right. turning into a political problem for democrats. they want to talk about other things. the republicans plan, medicare, talk about the economy. they felt like before this
entire weiner story turned into a major news story that they'd have republicans on the run. we'd see than on the new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll, thinking the republicans plan on medicare is a bad idea, increased since april. so democrats want to be able to turn their political fire back on republicans, but they really couldn't do it until anthony weiner steps down. >> mark murray, john harwood and ron allen. gentlemen, thanks so much. i want to point out to everybody, a programming node. we are expecting the congressman to take to the microphones to make his formal announcement coming up at 2:00 p.m. and we'll carry it for you live right here on msnbc. back with much more right after this.
time, when his wife came home, for them to talk. he's going to make an announ announcement. i'm not going to predicate any remarks on a decision we haven't heard yet. >> nancy pelosi a little while ago talking about the breaking news anthony weiner, congressman will be stepping down. we expect him to take to the microphones this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. mike viqueira is standing by at the white house to bring us up to speed on the kind of pressure congressman weiner was receiving from the president. mike, we saw how the president gave his reaction saying if it were him, he would resign. >> reporter: right wlarnlg. >> what did that do to speed up the announcement we're seeing this morning? >> reporter: so much of this is guesswork and speculation. a lot of it centers around return of his wife to the united states after traveling with her boss, secretary of state hillary clinton, in africa. you saw the former speaker there, the minority leader now and the house of representatives
nancy pelosi giving him space to discuss that. we've been talking about all the events that led up to this. the adult entertainment actress, lack of a better word, came forward talking about an exchange of e-mails with weiner. you spoke about the president's comments on monday in that interview with the "today" show's ann curry. if it were him had e would step aside. the meeting this morning where the leadership in the democratic caucus, the steering committee they call it up there, obviously led by nancy pelosi, leader of representatives in the house. an a committee, in other words a committee a lot of people want to get on. here's a man that was really living on a political island and we don't know the personal considerations obviously and the conversations that he had with his family. an individual who had high political aspirations. he made overtures and actually ran for mayor of new york in a primary at one point.
was thought to be seeking that office again. was raising a big war chest. not a particularly popular person. certainly marched to the beat of his own drummer in the house of representatives. known to be difficult to work for if you were on his staff, but all that goes out the window when you can turn a phrase, when you can speak and articulate the issues like anthony weiner could. he was known of something as a voice from the left. not always making the leadership happy and the house of representatives on the issues where they were trying to chart a course. that was, perhaps, more towards the middle. something -- he became something of a champion of the left among the public and liberal base of the democratic party. you know, steve israel is another congressman from a district close by on long island in new york. he runs what they call the detrip here in the parlance of washington. the d, the campaign committee. a close friend of anthony weiner's. one of only three members at his wedding when he married huma, the aide to secretary of defense
clinton. bill clinton obviously official yating e i official yating. he had to get the call for weiner apparently informing israel he was going to do what he's doing today. apparently stepping down, announcing that at 2:00. >> nbc's mike viqueira at the white house. thanks. >> reporter: okay. casey anthony's defense team taking the reins in her murder trial three years to the day that 2-year-old caylee disappeared. they may be calling a surprise witness's in orlando, covering the trial for us, kerry, good morning. tell us what the defense is saying about the potential surprise witness that may be coming into the courtroom today? >> reporter: saying very little, other than she a recently discovered witness who may provide evidence that may explain what was going on. his name is vasco thompson. he is in prison, convicted of kidnapping. the reason that they, the defense is so interested in having him come in is because
they believe they have cell phone records that show that he was in contact with george anthony nap would be caylee's grandfather. casey's father, the day before caylee was reported missing. four phone calls on the cell phone. now, george anthony, through his attorney, denied knowing who this is and having any contact with him, but it raises a question mark, if, indeed, there was sort of contact between the two of them. meantime, in the courtroom as we go in live to the courtroom right now, the defense didn't open up with a huge bang in their first day here rebutting the state's case. they're calling the witnesses. what they're concentrating on is highly technical scientific information. and so we see a representative from the fbi who deals in trace evidence and dna at the easel explaining some of the details to the jury who are just out of camera range there about
evidence that was taken in the dna tests conducted, and then just across the courtroom there, we can see casey anthony remaining at her table. she's seated in the defense table there, looking and paying attention to the details of what's going on. the defense believes ultimately that much of the dna was properly presented, but the defense believes not all of the dna was examined, and that's what they're honing in on. prosecution is not happy about that at all. one thing i might add. yes, it's three years to the day that caylee anthony died, and it's very strange confluence of dates to think that this is the day that the defense begins presenting its story of what happened. it's alternate narrative to what the state says, which was that casey murdered her daughter so she could live the life of a party girl. >> nbc's kerry sanders in orlando this morning. thank you. bring in now, ricky ricki,
and kerry describes the forensic experts coming in trying to poke holes in what the prosecution laid forward also kerry pointing out this isn't a bok bombshell way it open. why is that important? >> critical, because the case that the prosecution built is built on three things. built on science. it's built on the timeline, and it's built on what i call conduct unbecoming a mother who's lost a child. so science, science, science. they must poke holes in all of the science. we're going to probably hear from a medical examiner, who's going to say the prosecution's medical examiner is incorrect, or at least guessing, speculating. we're going to hear bug science is junk science. we're going to hear that the smell test, dealing with decomposition is junk science. that's critical, because the defense is looking at reasonable
doubt. >> and this person, the surprise witness they may call, just a red herring? >> it's a red herring. ultimately, sounds like his phone number was close to a phone number where george anthony worked. could have been a mistake. i think it's going nowhere, but certainly there to try to take the wind out of the prosecution's sails for the public. >> rickkki klieman, great to se you. >> thanks. news anthony weiner will resign today. reaction coming in fast and furious from capitol hill. stay tuned to us right here on msnbc for this continuing story. [ male announcer ] to the 5:00 a.m. scholar. the two trains and a bus rider. the "i'll sleep when it's done" academic. for 80 years, we've been inspired by you. and we've been honored to walk with you to help you get where you want to be.
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welcomes back, everybody. 's the break news this morning that congressman anthony weiner is going to be stepping down from his post, this almost three weeks after taking the national headlines of his tweeting, sexting scandal. people coming out of the woodwork almost to show pictures he'd been sending around to different people he'd met online from facebook and twitter. luke russert is standing by from capitol hill. have we heard from many on the democratic side that have come out -- obviously they haven't come out to show a lot of support. have they come out supporting this decision feeling it's the right way to go? >> reporter: yeah. i just spoke to one democratic member, thomas, before i came on. he said this was the only plausible way forward for anthony weiner.
especially after nancy pelosi said he should resign, the president of the united states said he should resign. his hellacious past coming out, more every day. yesterday, ginger lee saying, speaking to the press, saying anthony weiner informed her to lie. she stated she would cooperate with the house ethics committee. there definitely was a right to have his day in court, before the house ethics committee if he wanted to, he realized he'd become a distraction. and that it was the best decision for him to move away. he's going to have a press conference at 2:00 p.m. we mentioned here where he's obviously going to face the cameras for the first time since saturday, where he's been in hiding. but as we've -- the collective, shall we say, opinion of his colleagues here is really a sigh of relief that he's ultimately doing the right thing. >> mark murray joins us also this morning.
we had nancy pelosi in the last hour giving her briefing, saying he's not going to make a statement on this, if that's what the media yas expeimmedi t. expect a statement from her later. since she made the famous statement saying she wants to be in washington, d.c. in the post of a leader to drain the swamp. does this, the painfully slow consequences on her part? >> it does, thomas. one problem of actually having 43 a members of congress, it's lard for either the democratic leader or the republican leader to be able to herd all their cats. that promise to drain that swamp came back to bite nancy pelosi last congressional cycle, of course, with charlie rangel and the ethics problems he ended up encountering and turned out to be a headache for the democratic party. luke mentioned democrats are relieved weiner will be stepping down, but vie to tell you, the reaction on the progressive blos
sphere is different. talb talk about a double standard of david vitter who did not resign. in fact, ended up winning re-election after his own sex scandal as well as former nevada senator, allowed to stay in his position for months before finally resigning after his own sex scandal. progressives are noting that. the double standard out there. but luke is right. that democratic members are happy he's resigning i. think timing is certainly everything as we take into effect the different personal layers that go along with this story with his wife, now coming back, being pregnant. issues that are in contrast what happened with others. >> reporter: the tangible difference is, democrats who have shown the same thing about vitter. those two never went on national tv and repeatedly lied. they never -- >> right. >> reporter: those two also did not lie to their caucus, their
conference. the one thing that has seemed to be floft all this is that anthony weiner directly lied to nancy pelosi. he told the leader of the democratic caucus that his twitter account had been hacked. he essentially told the most powerful person with his party, in the house, that he had been hacked. this was all a big misunderstanding, done by folks out to get him. he made her look really bad, and that is something that definitely resonated with her. resonated with the leadership. to go out and lie to the most powerful person with your caucus is not a wise move in a place where the leadership dictates so much of what you can do, and that's what anthony weiner did, and that ultimately really did hurt him a lot. >> mark, is that the unr unrecoverable? it's what luke is pointing out. the fact he sat down with luke russert that he sat down with
cnn that he sat down with fox news and anybody else that would listen to say, he couldn't say with certitude that photo was of him and then the rest that just came pouring out. >> thomas a big part of that story, looking back on that initial press conference that weiner had with a couple of reporters where we denied everything. said he was hacked. maintained that story for days before holding that press conference and said that he had lied to everyone. that did damage his credibility, but one other important note, the differences between the vitters and weiner here, the republican party put its entire shoulder into this story forcing democrats to say, is weiner's behavior acceptable or not? that put democrats on the spot where they didn't want to have to defend that at all. and, of course, as you saw over the weekend, nancy pelosi, debbie schultz, head of the national democratic committee ended up calling for his resignation and president obama in his own interview with ann curry send ended up saying if he
weiner he would resign. the republicans played a role forcing democrats to pick a side. all who did basically did not side with anthony weiner. >> mark and luke, stand by a second. i want to introduce to our conversation former mayor ed koch who joins us on the phone. sir, nice have you on this morning as we've been talking about the breaking news this morning that congressman weiner will resign his post. the one thing that can't go by unspoken the fact he had higher hopes to run for new york city mayor. what's your reaction to hearing the news this morning and do you think he made the right call? >> i wondered why he took so long, and when he held his press conference, i voiced the opinion that he should stay on, but his press conference, the day following that, conveyed that he hadn't told the truth. the picture of his penis appeared on the websites, and it was clear to me, and i said so at the time that he to resign to spare his wife from the
continuing stories. his behavior is juvenile. this wasn't even a physical sex. it was fantasy and conversations on a machine. but he. no alternative, in my judgment, and is doing the right thing by resigning. >> sir, people would say that new york constituents can be very forgiving. do you think he still has a political position in this state? >> maybe in 10 or 20 years he could run again. the people of the country, not just new york, are very forgiving, but they require that you be penitent, that you perform some self-sacrificing service to the community at large to show that you know you disgraced yourself and you want to prove that you've changed the course of your life. >> do you think that governor
cuomo will appoint someone or have a runoff special election? >> you can't have an appointment for congress. you can only have -- you can only have an appointment for the senate. congress,s it has to be a special election. >> sir, while i have you on the phone. new york is in the headlines for the marriage equality bill passing the assembly. potentially the senate. what's your reaction on that, your take ton? >> i have been and continue to be a supporter of same-sex marriage, because it's simply unfair that if you're heterosexual couple you get 1,000 benefits under the federal law. primarily tax benefits, than if you are a same sex couple living together, you get zippo. >> sir, do you think it's going to go through? >> i believe so, because the governor said that he would not bring the bill up for a vote if he didn't think the votes were there. now, in politics, nothing is ever certain, but i believe that it will go through.
if it doesn't, the republicans will bear the burden, and i think that they will rule the day if they don't allow a vote to take place and if the votes aren't there to pass it. >> ed koch. thanks for coming on. appreciate your time. a quick break in a second. a statement from a new york congresswoman saying there is life after congress, and i hope anthony weiner devotes himself to repairing the damage he has caused to his personal life. [ male announcer ] this is lara. her morning begins with arthritis pain. that's a coffee and two pills. the afternoon tour begins with more pain and more pills. the evening guests arrive. back to sore knees. back to more pills. the day is done but hang on... her doctor recommended aleve. just 2 pills can keep arthritis pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is lara who chose 2 aleve
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some constipation medications can take control of you. break free. with miralax. it's clinically proven to relieve constipation and soften stool with no harsh side effects. just gentle predictable relief. miralax. were back, everyone. breaking news this morning congressman weiner will announce his resignation formally coming up at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon. after almost three weeks of headlines around this country about the sexting and tweeting scandal of meeting half a dozen
women online through facebook and through twitter, and then the pictures that have eplerged since then. again, the congressman will make that announcement today at 2:00 officially in new york with the same spot that he launched his political career back in the early 1990s. we'll have it for you live right here on msnbc. we want to fill new what's going on now as we speak in the orlando courtroom, the casey anthony murder trial. trying to poke holeses in the forensic evidence presented by the prosecution. there's talk the defense will call a surprise witness. there is also still the looming possibility that the woman you see on the right-hand side of your screen, casey anthony, will take the stand herself. in other news today, the new york state assembly pass add same-sex marriage bill for the fourth time in y0 two years. this time the state senate is closer than ever to making it law. advocates for the bill need one more vote. that's it. one more vote among the republican colleagues and many of those supporters believe that vote it is in play.
shawn ed drich, political director of freedom to mary and claire, a gay rights advocate and join me on the set today. great to have you both here. >> thanks for having us. >> take us through the latest developments and what we can expect from the statehouse. >> you noted last night the state assembly passeded marriage bill with bipartisan support with the majority of new yorkers behind them. all that's left in the state senate passing the bill and the governor promised to sign the bill. so we are very close, and we are optimistic that the bill will come to a vote in the senate and that it will pass but it's not a done deal and more important than ever that new yorkers who care about this issue are heard. that they call their senators. they make their voices heard. because we are so close. >> claire, you have been a huge supporter of this issue as the first miss america contestant to run on an all-lgbt platform, spent the last year providing the service around the country to bringing conversation to this. i think it's straight talk for
quality? >> state for quality. >> let's talk about the fact this is coming on the heels about you about to give up your crown this weekend to the next miss new york. do you think this is going to happen and if so what's your reaction? >> i do. when i was crowned, and throughout the year we had don't ask, don't tell repealed. d.c. legalizing gay marriage. so now to end my year with new york hopefully passing marriage equality and giving that freedom to marry to all people, i would be honored and just a culmination of the work i've bun with fellow new yorkers this year. >> a big push with the state of new york. phone banks set up to call your senator, to talk to people. do you think that's really what the needed push is right now, for people to reach out to their senators and say, this needs to go through? >> i think it's made a huge difference. we've heard from the five senators who voted against the bill last time they've had thousands of calls, e-mails, postcards from supporters across new york, gay and straight,
republican and democrat who support the freedom to marry. it's made an enormous difference and a majority of new yorkers want to see it done and the senate knows it, the assembly knows it and it's up to them to pass the bill. >> claire, as i said, you've had the entire year to spend talking about lgbt issues. you are a straight woman, but you chose this mantle and took it on. what's your reaction to having spend the past year doing this and do you think this is something you're going to continue to do throughout your life? >> absolutely. the miss america organization throughout this year has revealed what not just my passion is but what my purpose is. i'll absolutely be continuing my advocacy, i don't need a crown to do this. i need voice. every single one of us has a voice. those straight voices are some of the most important voices to be heard. >> next step, georgetown? >> i'm applying. if they're living. >> luck ty to get her. claire, congratulations. and shawn, we'll continue to watch this story as it
developed. more, especially more on the news anthony weiner is going to be resigning. the 2:00 p.m. news conference coming up later today, tamron hall covering that hour, but we're back with much more. stay with us. in a new associated press life goes strong poll, 61% surveyed said their age is not a career issue. 82% said they did not experience prejudice or discrimination at work because of their age. many of those over 50 said that younger co-workers actually look to them to get advice and counsel. at bayer, we've been relieving pain for over 100 years. and today, we're re-inventing aspirin for pain relief. with new extra-strength bayer advanced aspirin.
the breaking news today, normal lawmaker anthony weiner expected to hold a press conference at 2:00 p.m. to formally announce his resignation from congress. but will it end the distraction that so many congressional leaders say that they want to get past? msnbc contributor melissa harris perry joins us now, professor of political science at tulane and a columnist for the nation. melissa, we are almost three
weeks out on this story, and many say that what we're seeing today was really inevitable. what are your thoughts, your initial reaction, to the news itself? >> look, i mean, i understand that members of congress and, of course. >> many americans see this all as a huge distraction. but i want to pause for just a second and suggest that it may not be entirely a distraction. you know, we're about to go into an election year. and we have to think about how do we choose representatives? and i know folks would like to say, well, let's just keep the private lives separate and the personal lives separate. but the reality is, when we're choosing a representative or a president or even a mayor, we have to make choices in part, depending on how we think that person will make decisions. some of it is about whether or not their policies match up with us. but the other part is, us judging their judgment. and so on the one hand, this is an enormous distraction, we should be talking about the economy and jobs and international conflict. but on the other hand, this is really the core of how americans have to choose their
representatives. we're looking at their judgment. >> regardless of party affiliation, whether you're a republican, whether you are independent or democratic, do americans have to expect from their leaders they don't have a public persona and a private persona anymore? >> no. i mean, clearly people will have the right to have, you know, some part of themselves that is not always in public view. of course, if you're tweeting yourself, you may, in fact, be in public view. but i do think that we have a right as voters to ask questions about the honesty, the integrity, of our representatives. now, i think there are people currently holding office who have also demonstrated through their choices that they do not demonstrate clear honesty and integrity in their dealings. it's not as though weiner is exclusively in this category. but the fact is, it's more than a distraction. it really is in part at the heart of how we make electoral decisions. and it's why public officials have to be careful about their
private lives. >> do you think that this has lingered on long enough, and are you surprised that it's taken three weeks to get to a point like this, where there wasn't a decision made a lot sooner? >> i'm not surprised. because clearly, the congressman wanted to hold on to this position. he tried a couple of different strategies for this. at first just being dishonest, and then, of course, trying to kind of go the treatment route. and i also don't think, given that there wasn't anything illegal, as far as we know now, that leadership could move to push him out more quickly. this was going to have to happen through a build-up of the news cycle. one could critique the news cycle and claim none of us should have been talking about it, and therefore, it wouldn't have happened. but again, i'm not surprised it took this long, but i certainly very happy you and i will have something else you and i can can be talking about. >> from your mouth to god's ear. thanks for talking with us. it's time now for the flip side, a look behind the headlines, the economic recovery may be struggling, but certain
members of congress are doing just fine. that age-old link between money and power is going strong right there in washington, d.c. this is according to 2010 financial disclosures that are out yesterday. nancy pelosi's net worth grows a whopping 62% last year, bringing her grand total to $35 billion. most of that from her husband's real estate ventures in san francisco. one of the wealthiest people on capitol hill, darryl issa, the congressman from california, who chairs the very influential house oversight and government reform committee. he's worth, get this, at least $220 million. that's up 37%. issa is still on the board of electronics at a company he helped found. overall, it's so packed, big dough almost seems like it's a requirement to get the title. but not everyone on the hill is raking it in. the house freshmen may be about eliminating national debt, but that doesn't stop them from taking on major debt of their own. at least 30 of the 87 republican
newcomers were liable for $57,000 or more in 2010. and anthony weiner now that he's resigning, he'll be out of a paycheck. that paycheck, $174,000 a year. as a congressman. we're going to have that press conference for you right here on msnbc coming up at 2:00. the formal announcement from congressman anthony weiner that he is resigning his post as a congressman. that's going to do it for me today. thanks for your time. i'll see you back here at 11:00 a.m. eastern time. until then follow me at twitter at underscore thomas roberts. richard lui is here to pick things up. so much to talk about. >> a really busy hour. we continue to follow the story of congressman weiner. he will resign this afternoon as thomas was saying in new york city. we have all the angles covering it on the scandal, including reaction from weiner's fellow lawmaker, congressman elliot engel. and in a florida courtroom, we're keeping an eye on more science and dna. we'll have live pictures here as the defense makes its case
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good day, i'm richard lui in for contessa brewer. we begin with breaking news out of d.c. nbc news confirmed that new york representative anthony weiner is stepping down. he's going to speak with reporters in a couple hours. the reaction from lawmakers this morning, take a listen. >> we respectfully gave him time when his wife came home for them to talk. he's going to make an announcement the. i'm not going to predicate any remarks on a decision we haven't heard yet. >> it's just been a distraction. the american people are asking, where are the jobs. and they want us to focus on job creation. this was just a distraction that was unnecessary. >> we have team coverage for you this morning. nbc's luke russert has been following developments and joins us from capitol hill. and from the white house, nbc news political director and host of msnbc's "the daily rundown," chuck todd also with us. luke, le